Sport Rafa Benitez to Celtic? - 'There was interest but not an option today' claims source

15:30  24 january  2021
15:30  24 january  2021 Source:   scotsman.com

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Balague says reigning Scottish champions Celtic were interested in the Spaniard replacing Neil Lennon, but Benitez is going to "rest for a bit". "Newcastle is not an option for Rafa Benitez under this owner," said Balague. "Change the owner and then maybe. " Rafa has a huge respect for the fans

Rafa Benitez is ready to work in the Premier League again after quitting Dalian Professional in China, but is not in line for a return to Newcastle, despite the pressure on Steve Bruce. The acrimony between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was so great by the time the Spaniard left the North East

A leading Spanish football expert has responded to reports that Rafa Benitez is set to be appointed Celtic manager.

Rafael Benitez looking at the camera © Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benetiz has been linked with a move to Celtic. (Photo by Stu Forster...

Guillem Balague believes Rafa Benitez will be looking to "rest" after leaving Chinese side Dalian Pro despite a report in the Sunday Mirror claiming the former Liverpool and Newcastle boss is set to succeed Neil Lennon at Parkhead.

A flurry of bets saw the 60-year-old race into the odds-on favourite to become the next Hoops manager, with one bookmaker closing the market, but Balague is not convinced that an imminent move to Glasgow is on the cards.

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Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez left Chinese club Dalian Pro on Saturday, citing family reasons during the coronavirus pandemic. “The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision,” Benitez wrote in a statement on his personal website.

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He tweeted: "Rafa Benitez to Celtic? There was interest in him but not an option today. He's going to rest for a bit, despite offers (from Germany, also a national side).”

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Benitez has left Dalian by mutual consent, citing the impact of coronavirus as the main reason for his departure. The Spaniard was appointed at the Chinese outfit in July 2019 after failing to agree a new contract at Newcastle.

The 60-year-old has previously spoken about being linked with the Celtic post following Rodgers’ sudden exit in February 2019.

“I was aware of some interest but we didn’t have any official approach,” confirmed Benitez when asked if he had been in the frame for a move to Parkhead. “I was still under contract at Newcastle so we couldn’t even consider this option.”

Current Celtic boss Lennon is under severe pressure as rivals Rangers, who are 23 points clear at the top of the Premiership, run away with the title. Ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe had moved to odds-on just days ago in the wake of Celtic’s 2-2 draw at Livingston.

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How an empty Parkhead stadium has become a tomb for Celtic in tortured 10 tilt .
It would have seemed unthinkable in previous times. © Neil Lennon can't believe what he's watching during Celtic 4-1 home defeat to Sparta Prague - their ... When they face Motherwell on Saturday, the imperative for Celtic will be to build on what was - for this season, at least - an unusually authoritative victory that snared them a midweek 4-0 success at Kilmarnock. Owing to that need for further rehabilitation, it is no stretch to consider they could privately rue the fact the follow-up fixture to their Ayrshire breath of fresh air will be staged within the Parkhead area.

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